A Roman "Gate To Hell" Killed Any Animal That Crossed It
Proving that even tourist attractions were more hardcore 2,200 years ago, the city of Hierapolis in what is now Turkey had its very own "gate to hell." The Plutonium (named after the god of the underworld, not the element) consisted of a stone archway that killed any animal that walked through it, like something out of the ancient X-Files.
But that's all clearly bullshit, right? That's what the archaeologists excavating the place figured ... and then birds flying into the site started to drop dead.
Carole Raddato/FlickrJust to be on the safe side, try not to walk over this part of your screen.
For the Romans, the Plutonium was part religious ceremony, part mind-blowing magic act. Spectators sat in an arena and watched as eunuch priests led healthy bulls into a cave-like grotto, and then dragged them out as fresh corpses. But like the mysterious "healing powers" in the nearby thermal baths, the Plutonium's deadly effect was in fact caused by volcanic activity. A fissure below the grotto emits a low cloud of noxious carbon dioxide, allowing the castrato hosts to keep their heads above the toxic fumes while the oblivious animals became drowsy and asphyxiated. The carbon dioxide was a visible mist, which spectators were told emanated from Kerberos, Hell's three-headed guard dog.